Many have taken the road well travelled. Its path clearly illuminated; signposts frequent; and popular destinations mark every off-ramp.
Still fewer have taken the road less travelled. The scenery is fresh; the stops less obvious; and only a dirt trail leads a journey of self-discovery.
But I was content forging a road not travelled; instead choosing to make my own way in a world seemingly built on conformity – choosing to think for myself, question everything, and often choosing to go my own way, even if it meant embracing the perils of going against the traffic.
I got lost often. Rounded circles in deserts and the wilderness. Had to backtrack a few times.
Sometimes it was lonely. And other times exhilarating beyond imagination. But without regret for choosing a different path.
Often, I would cross paths with those on other more frequented roads. We shared some great moments; some great friendships. Occasionally, love. The greatest discovery of all.
I came to understand that love isn’t defined by whom we love, but rather how we love. And the lessons I learned – too late – is that only three things matter in love: sacrifice, trust, and forgiveness.
But in the end, the paths all led to the same place. What mattered was only what we had discovered about life and ourselves.
Some arrived in fancy cars and towing extravagant homes. Others pointed to their litany of achievements to validate how wise and successful their chosen path had been.
I realized it didn’t matter what I had accomplished; not what I would be remembered for; not how many loved me, or would even remember me, or how popular I was; not how successful I was; not even necessarily how many people I helped or lives touched; not how perfect or imperfect I was, or how many mistakes I had made. And especially, it made no difference how long I had been travelling.
When I stood alone, naked, at the end of the journey, who am I – not what – is all that mattered when the road had no further to go.